Sugarland Texas DA says he's gotten no indication charges are being pursued
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
AUSTIN - Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey Jr. said Friday he is not expecting to receive information anytime soon from the Travis County investigation into a political action committee founded by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle obtained a grand jury indictment Thursday against the DeLay-founded Texans for a Republican Majority on charges of violating state election laws that prohibit corporate money from being used to influence races for elective office.
At a news conference announcing the indictment, Earle hinted he might have sought an indictment of DeLay if he had jurisdiction. Jurisdiction for election law violations is held by the home county of the accused person.
DeLay, R-Sugar Land, would fall under Healey's jurisdiction.
No talk of case's facts
Healey said Earle called him after the news conference to say no referral against DeLay would be made at present.
"I can tell you he told me his comments were not intended to signal he had anything imminent to send to me in regard to Tom DeLay," Healey said. "We did not talk about the substantive facts of the case."
Healey said he felt certain Earle will handle the case properly.
"Knowing Mr. Earle's reputation and having talked to him ... if there is a matter in reference to a case against anybody stemming from this investigation, if there is a case to be made, supported by the evidence and the law, he will either present it to a grand jury or refer the matter to the proper authorities outside of his jurisdiction."
Healey said he did not know if Earle plans to give him any evidence in the future.
"It would be reckless for any district attorney to make reference to the likelihood of an investigation coming one's way unless, of course, the target was talking about it," Healey said.
TRMPAC and the Texas Association of Business were indicted on charges of illegally using $2.3 million in corporate cash to influence 2002 Texas House races to give the GOP a legislative majority.
Three of DeLay's political associates were indicted in the same investigation last year on similar charges: TRMPAC Director John Colyandro; fundraiser Warren RoBold; and Jim Ellis, the director of DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority.
All three men are fighting the charges against them.